Dog Chewing
Why they do it and how you can save your stuff

Dog Chewing has a purpose so if your canine is chewing up the furniture, the carpet or all your favorite underwear, there is a reason for his apparent madness.

Instead of getting mad at the dog let's look at why he's chewing up your favorite stuff and what you can do about it in  a positive way.

even an old dog  enjoys chewing on a plain raw bone

Take a deep breath. I understand because I have a list a mile long of favorite things that were chewed to shreds before I figured it out. Now it's your turn to solve the problem in your house.

If yelling at the dog worked, you wouldn't be here.

Why Dogs Chew

Dogs literally have a need to chew. Dogs need exercise. Dog chewing is a form of exercise. That part is simple but what if you leave him a toy and he gets into your stuff instead?

Dogs chewing on the wrong things is a sign of one of the following:

  • Needing exercise
  • Nervousness
  • Boredom

 Why? Chewing has it's place and here's what it does for our canines:

  • it calms
  • it’s exercise
  • it’s focused attention

I promise, your dog does not chew your stuff to get back at you. He may however choose your stuff because your smell is calming to him. One of the biggest reason for dog chewing is...


Needing Exercise

 Dogs exercise calms them just like it does us. In addition it’s part of their genetic makeup to be on the move. Like wolves, if our dogs were wild they would migrate, hunt, eat and rest.

I think the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen were the neighbor’s dogs who insisted on finding a way out of the yard.  Riley and Molly would walk all day while my friend worried herself to a frazzle. When they were hungry they’d come home, eat and rest in perfect harmony for several days until the urge hit again.

How did my friend handle it? She put the baby in a special stroller, leashed the two dogs and ran a couple miles. Everyone benefited.



Nervousness and Boredom

There are many reasons dogs get nervous. It can be that lack of exercise and it can also be from not having firm leadership. I know that last statement doesn't seem to make sense from a human point of view but I've seen it.

My daughter's dog was always on the move. Always into everything. Always pacing. After my daughter sent her to an awesome trainer for doggie camp, she became a new dog. The trainer explained how much more comfortable dogs are with rules and taught my daughter how to be in control without being mean. Her dog gets a daily walk and special chew toys and sleeps soundly the rest of the time. It's amazing. Especially after 8 years of bouncing off the walls!

Boredom on the other hand is pretty easy to see. The more energy a dog has, the easier it is to get bored. It breaks my heart to see a high energy dog get stuck in the house day after day without an outlet for that energy.

Eventually, he will find something to do and chewing fills that need nicely.


Good Choices for Dog Chewing

If you know me, you know my answer is going to be raw meaty bones. And now that I live in Minnesota where it’s often too cold for walking outside in the winter, the purchase of bones has doubled for the season and I’ll use some of the following as well.

  • Kong toys.  Some of my dogs have chewed for long periods on Kong toys but to keep their interest I usually have to use the ones you fill with a treat.

(Please, leave out the sugar laden peanut butter or better yet, switch to almond butter. Nut butters should have one ingredient – the nuts! Another fun and healthy choice for a filler is coconut oil. Yum.)

  • Bully sticks are a good choice that are high in protein and low in fat. I think for most dogs they last several hours but with my pit bulls, they last about twenty minutes.
  • Deer antlers are another good choice. Good and natural.
  • Nylabones – I’m kind of on the fence with these. I don’t like the edible ones but have given the hard to chew choices to my dogs. They last but they’re not natural (I know, neither are Kong toys).

 

a bad choice for dog chewing. Raw bones or kong toys are better

Bad Choices for Dog Chewing

I’m sure you know better than to give your pup things that can come apart and choke him, especially when you’re not at home so I won’t insult your intelligence. Here are a few things you might not have thought about:


Plastic bottles

There is nothing more fun in my book than watching the dogs race around after an empty plastic water bottle. They love it. It makes lots of noise, works as a tug of war toy between them and it’s oh so free. Plus when they’re done, it’s compacted and fits better in the recycling bin.

So what’s the problem? There is a chemical in the plastic that both the human and canine body misinterprets as estrogen which creates health problems. That chemical is released quicker whenever the plastic warms (never leave your water bottle in a hot car!)

One of my dogs produced milk so we took away the plastic bottles. I can’t say that was definitely the culprit but I know plastic isn’t healthy and the milk has since stopped.

After a year long hiatus I started giving them again but only for about five minutes, which for a pit bull is all it takes to pop the top off, chase it around and flatten it with a few good chomps.

 

 Rawhide chews

I gave these to my dogs for years thinking they were good. Yikes. Once I learned about the chemicals they were treated with and the countries they were imported from, all rawhide products were banned from my home. They now scare the pants off me.


Flavored bones

Remember dogs have a much keener sense of smell than we do so I have a suspicion that stuff is done for us. Those bones are flavored with unnatural mix of things that do not promote dog health, so stay away from them or put them on the occasional list. Plain raw bones are awesome!


Dog toys can be good or bad. For some ideas on healthy, free and adorable ideas, visit dog chew toys.




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